I caught a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror in the bathroom in the airport in Zurich.
My hair still damp from this morning’s shower, pulled messily in a bun. My eyes puffy, bags the size of which I’ve never seen on my face before. My neck and chest bright red, although I’m not sure if it is the sun or my bags around my shoulders that created the redness.
My traveling sandals (the old man sandals that I would never wear in public were I not traveling and afraid my feet would swell and I wouldn’t be able to wear normal shoes) emphasized by my blue polka-dotted compression socks. Another very obnoxious garment that doesn’t match the old man sandals has become an essential accessory for long flights sticking out from under my jeans. They appeared to be stretched out from having been worn one day too many without being washed. I ran out of clean clothes 3 days ago.
I have been washing underwear in the hotel sink for a few days. My green jacket covered in dirt and spots. Let’s say I look a mess, well-traveled, but a mess.
I chuckled to myself when I saw my reflection.
I wondered what the other bathroom occupant who was wearing heels, a cute skirt and had her hair neatly done must have thought when she looked at me. I’m certain the thought, “I hope I am not sitting next to her on my flight,” went through her head.
I looked at myself again.
Over the years, I have noticed that my complexion changes based on my environment, mood, and surroundings.
My face complexion is a reflection of my soul, not just my health.
My complexion was glowing. It looked even, clear and healthy. The dessert sun had given me a little color. The healthy eating and lots of water had added to an even complexion. Maybe the wine had taken away a bit of the hydration for my skin.
I’m sure the laughter had evened out the damage the wine and lack of sleep may have done.
My laugh lines around my mouth were more profound than usual and very visible.
There were lots and lots of laughter throughout the 12 days. I had earned the lines to be prominent on my face.
I told myself they do not reflect age, they show happiness.
The bags under my eyes became less noticeable the more I looked at myself. There would be time for sleep once we were home in our own beds without the worry of oversleeping or thoughts of anticipation for the next day.
My eyes glistened. They reflected the peace and satisfaction my soul was feeling.
There was a twinkle to them that most would not see.
Others would not look deep enough, they would not look past the messy hair and the dirty clothes to see the contentment that my eyes reflected from inside.
I know what my eyes showed because it filled my heart and every crevice of my body.
I’m confident anyone who did find themselves near me for a moment may not see my radiating peace but may feel it if they were quiet enough to try. As I continued to look at myself, I thought, “wow, I look exhausted. It must have been a great trip.”
And it was.
We took the airport tram to our gate. Our once chatty and excited family now stood silent, holding tightly to the pole, hoping not to fall over from the tram’s movements. A slow, sad instrumental song played over the intercom.
As I stood there looking across the car at Matthew, I thought as simple as it appears I don’t want to forget this moment. To an outsider, they may have looked at our long silent faces and thought this a family that doesn’t like each other or isn’t having fun together.
We are exactly the opposite.
We are a family who ran so hard. Who saw so much. Who experienced together more in 12 days than many families experience together in a lifetime. We are a family that has no energy left.
We’ve had so much fun. Spent so much time together that there isn’t a need for more words.
We have said them all.
We’ve shared and connected deeper than before. We’re so in tune at this moment that we know what the other is thinking. There’s no need to verbally communicate.
Looking at our long silent faces filled my heart.
That moment, like many of the moments from the week, would become priceless to me.
As we travel home, I know that the connection will slowly fade.
We will become immersed in everyday life.
Matthew and I will become distracted by work. Kev will be happy to be with his friends again. We will go back to being the normal family we always have been.
The comfort I know is that our souls will not.
With each adventure, each new experience, our souls grow more connect deeper than before. Our bond is stronger and stronger.
Our memories are what carry our souls through the humdrum everyday.
Our souls know when our mind might forget… that there are more adventures to come. There are more moments yet to be seen that will fill our hearts.
After all, isn’t it family and memories that make life full?
It is mine.